The Muslim Blueprint has published the latest report on the representation of Muslims in television series developed by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The results reflect the invisibility to which the Muslim population is subjected in television series, as well as the bias of violence that surrounds their stereotype.
The Muslim Blueprint is a media platform to promote stories about the Muslim population with a clear objective: to improve the image of the Muslim population in the media.
This report, produced as part of the Annenber Inclusion Initiative project at the University of Southern California, analyzes the presence of Muslims in 200 television series aired between 2018 and 2019. The study highlights the unequal representation of Muslims on television and the invisibility and stereotyping to which Muslims are subjected.
Among the main findings, the following stand out:
- 87% of the series analyzed do not include any Muslim character. From the rest, 8% include only one character.
- This invisibility is accentuated in the case of women. On average, only 30% of the Muslim characters are women.
- 58% of the Muslim characters represented are victims or perpetrators of violence.
- Only 11.6% of the series that include Muslim characters are comedies.
- The report identifies the frequent use of discriminatory or stigmatizing adjectives, such as “psychopath”, ” murderous gang of fanatics”, “terrorist”, “pedophile”, “monster”, “little f*cker”, “predator”, “school shooter”, “sadistic pig”, “idiot”…
As explained by the renowned actor Riz Ahmed, the main promoter of The Muslim Blueprint initiative:
“The representation of Muslims on screen feeds the policies that get enacted, the people that get killed, the countries that get invaded. The data doesn’t lie. This study shows us the scale of the problem in popular film, and its cost is measured in lost potential and lost lives.”
The Riz test
Taking the name of this actor, academics Sadia Habib and Shaf Choudry developed in 2017 a test to evaluate the representation of Muslims in film and television. Through five basic questions, the exercise aims to denounce the negative representation of Muslims in the media by pointing out the main stereotypes with which this segment of the population is linked.
The test is composed of the following 5 questions:
- Talking about, the victim of, or the perpetrator of terrorism?
- Presented as irrationally angry?
- Presented as superstitious, culturally backwards or anti-modern?
- Presented as a threat to a Western way of life?
- If the character is male, is he presented as misogynistic? or if female, is she presented as oppressed by her male counterparts?
If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, the film has failed the test.
Click on the link to read the full report on the representation of Muslims in television series: Report Erased or extremists